The news from around the world continues to bombard the spirit….
Sometime in 1973, a gentleman wrote to the celebrated children-stories writer E. B. White about humanity’s future looking desolate….
In his reply (dated 30th March 1973), White acknowledges that “It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet.” But, he says “As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman….the scene is not desolate.”
“Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time,” writes White. “I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.”
He ends the letter encouraging us to “Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock….”
The writer, statesman and last President of Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel, observes (in one of a series of conversations that happened in 1985-86, and published as the book “Disturbing the Peace”) that hope is “above all….a state of mind….It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.”
Vaclav then pours out words that are timeless.
“Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpromising the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is. Hope is not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. In short, I think that the deepest and most important form of hope, the only one that can keep us above water and urge us to good works, and the only true source of the breathtaking dimension of the human spirit and its efforts, is something we get, as it were, from ‘elsewhere.’ It is….this hope, above all, that gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.””